Chronic pain is something most seniors are familiar with on some level. Some health issues may cause temporary discomfort, but it’s increasingly common for even healed injuries to continue to cause pain for years. Back pain, neuropathy, and arthritis are a few common reasons seniors feel pain on a daily basis. Figuring out strategies that work for your senior loved one is the best way to provide individualized care for chronic pain.
1. Establish a Severity Scale
Pain is challenging for many people to identify, and the invisible nature of nerve sensations makes it impossible for you to know how your loved one is feeling just by looking at him or her. Some older adults are stoic and may need encouragement to express their pain. Others may exaggerate their symptoms in the hope that it gets them help. Create a pain scale with your loved one that he or she feels comfortable using. This could involve a number system or a set of smiley faces that progress to frowns. Either way, being able to quickly assess the situation gives you a better way to get the pain under control.
2. Manage Prescription Medications
Prescription painkillers are effective, but they also have the risk of causing seniors to develop a dependency on them. On the other hand, some need to be taken early enough to keep pain levels from reaching extreme levels. Set up a medication management plan that includes a caregiver overseeing the schedule to eliminate potentially costly mistakes.
A home caregiver can provide your loved one with regular medication reminders. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Green Valley families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
3. Explore Alternative Therapies
To prevent aging adults from becoming addicted to prescription painkillers, more physicians are recommending seniors try natural methods of pain control at home. Your loved one can try learning how to use meditation to distract him or her from the pain. Therapies that apply heat or cold to the body can also soothe irritated nerves and body tissues.
4. Keep Muscles & Joints Limber
Regular exercise is helpful for people living with chronic pain, even if the initial movements tend to hurt. Keep in mind your loved one should always consult a physician before doing new exercises, but it can help if your loved one stretches, walks, and engages in safe strength training, which builds up muscles that support parts of the body that often hurt. Back pain is especially responsive to the right forms of exercise.
A professional caregiver can help your loved one exercise in safety and comfort. For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Green Valley Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break.
5. Provide Emotional Support
Being in constant pain takes a toll on a senior’s mental health. It doesn’t take long for anxiety to contribute to feeling even more pain. Give your loved one plenty of emotional support. Your loved one can better manage pain when he or she has talked out his or her worries or spent time doing a distracting activity.
6. Prevent Known Health Issues from Worsening
Chronic pain may always be there, but you can help your loved one stop it from getting worse. For example, back pain can increase if your loved one experiences a spinal injury. Nerve pain can increase if diabetes gets out of control. Take steps to boost your loved one’s health and reduce the risk of injury so his or her pain can stay more manageable.
A compassionate home caregiver can be a valuable source of support for a senior living with chronic pain. Homecare professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at 520-625-2050 today.